Rep. Max Rose conceded his first race for reelection to Republican challenger Nicole Malliotakis on Thursday, putting New York City’s only congressional battleground district back under GOP control.
Malliotakis declared victory on election night last week, but Rose initially refused to back down, citing thousands of outstanding mail-in ballots cast in the race for the 11th congressional district, which covers all of Staten Island and a sliver of Southern Brooklyn.
As ballots continued to be tallied Thursday afternoon, though, Rose acknowledged he no longer had a path to victory.
“I have called to congratulate Congresswoman-elect Malliotakis on her win and concede the race,” Rose said in a statement. “Representing this district has been the honor of my life … I love Staten Island and Brooklyn.”
The district has long leaned Republican, and was the only one in the city to go for President Trump in the 2016 election.
Still, Rose shook up the district’s conservative dominance in the 2018 midterms, ousting incumbent Republican Dan Donovan on a platform characterized by a willingness to reach across the aisle and break with Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill.
“I am immensely proud of everything we accomplished in the last two years,” Rose said in his concession statement, noting particular pride in having played part in securing permanent funding for the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund.
Malliotakis, currently a Republican member of the State Assembly, did not immediately react to Rose’s concession.
While declaring victory last week, Malliotakis told supporters on Staten Island that her victory proved a repudiation of Democrats seeking to put the U.S. on “a destructive path towards socialism.”
“Members of that party, with names like Pelosi, Schiff, Nadler, AOC and yes, Max Rose, were all too happy to needlessly attempt to impeach our president, Donald Trump, and do or say anything to defeat him and our Republican Party,” Malliotakis said, name-dropping major figures in the Democratic Party.
Malliotakis’ win reaffirms the congressional district’s Republican identity.
President Trump endorsed Malliotakis’ campaign and some of his family members, including Donald Trump, Jr., hit the campaign trail on her behalf.
Rose, a decorated U.S. Army veteran who was wounded while serving in Afghanistan, has been rumored to be considering a 2021 run for mayor.
In his concession statement, the 33-year-old Democrat suggested he’s not done with politics.
“Our city, and our country, stand at a crossroads. Far too many Americans feel unseen, unheard or even betrayed by those entrusted with leading us through these difficult times,” he said. “All of us in public life have a responsibility to try to heal the divisions and restore faith and trust in each other.”
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